With 2019 nearly behind us we look forward to working with you in the ‘environment super-year’ of 2020. This year, the beginning of a new decade, is important not just for the number of environment-related conferences that will be going on, vital benchmarks for progress though they are. 2020 is also a year in which we reflect on the previous UN Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020) with all its successes and failures, and start preparing for the recently announced UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).
Themes like these provide opportunities for countries and their peoples to focus their actions and act collaboratively with their neighbours, both at international and local levels. One of the main events of 2020 will be the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which will have its 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Kunming in November. The theme for COP15 will be ‘Ecological Civilization: Building a shared future for all life on Earth’, which seeks to inspire a global society in which economic, social and environmental concerns “are addressed in a truly holistic way, by recognizing that nature is the fundamental infrastructure supporting life on Earth”.
In the same month next year the City of Glasgow will host the ‘Climate Summit’, the 26th meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and, of course, there is our own IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) in June, which takes place in Marseilles.
All of these meetings and others that will take place in 2020 will need to see perhaps unprecedented levels of ambition, collaboration, compromise and urgency if they are to succeed in the goals they have set. Never has there been a more important time for progress to be made.
For our part, IUCN Members in the UK along with their counterparts in Europe and North and Central Asia have shown their willingness to work together as a united IUCN Interregional Committee. The results of the opinion poll carried out over recent months has now secured the majority 50%+1 expressions of support required to take the proposal to the next level. Thank you to those of you who responded to the survey. Representation will now be made to the next IUCN Council meeting in February 2020 and we hope to be taking this further at the WCC in Marseilles.
We very much look forward to seeing you there. It is rare indeed that we in the UK can access a global gathering like this so close to home and fairly easily accessible by train. Please don’t be daunted by the conference fee – there are day rates available which make this cost no more than a domestic conference and it is so much more than that. Only once every four years is there such a chance to meet conservation colleagues from around the world and share our passions, experience and knowledge in a spirit of partnership. A good opportunity to demonstrate our ambition, collaboration, compromise and urgency, perhaps?
Regards and festive wishes to you all,
Chris and Stephen
Stephen Grady, Chair, and Chris Mahon, CEO, IUCN National Committee UK